The name says it all - as we hope to encourage those who are a bit hesitant to participate on a mission as volunteers for up to 10 days, living and working within a small team.
Our focus to date is on a baby hospital in Bucharest caring for sick and abandoned babies. These babies need our love and tender touch. We also visit other aspects of the ministry of Heart to Heart International(H2HI) including orphanages and transition houses.(See "Where we Go") H2HI have teams as well as staff working all year round in Romania and we work there under their auspices.
Many people of all ages have gone on a short term trip. Each of them talks about the miraculous way in which God has enabled them to go. Many of them also share the dramatic way their experience has changed their life and allowed them to share their gifts and talents with the poor and needy. They have been stretched spiritually, physically and emotionally and learned and experienced so much. The children have been a real blessing to them.
There is no age barrier - a reasonable level of stamina is required as well as loving arms and hands and a desire to play your part in a positive way, however small you may think it is, in the lives of those abandoned youngsters.
Extract from Kirsty's Story
Tenderfoot Trip July 2007
... An amazing and memorable part of our time at the hospital was with a tiny baby and his 21 year old mother. She was going to abandon her child, but she said that after meeting our small team, she decided to keep him. It was such a special blessing to see the mother and the child and that God used our small team to make an impact on their lives.
The hardest thing was to leave the babies and toddlers. They would cry each time we left and it was hard to think that it was the last time they would have any stimulation that day. I found this especially hard on the last day, especially to leave Valentine.
My experience at the orphanage was challenging and touching. It was an orphanage for children with Special Needs- but according to the Romanian system, this may range from having one eye a different colour to having a severe handicap. Each day, the team played sport with the children, played games, did an activity, a bible story and a short talk on a subject, such as friendship. An amusing experience was acting out a bible story in front of the children, but as it was being read in Romanian, we did not having a clue what was going on!!!
Our daily routine consisted of breakfast followed by devotions. Then we tended to do an activity. One of the aspects of the trip was to try to help us understand why there are so many orphans in Romania and to enable us to do this, the trip organisers and leaders of the charity took us on tours of the city, to pinpoint the main places of significance in the past history and present politics of the country, including the People's palace and a tour of the locations of the revolution. We then had lunch and divided into our teams for the baby hospital or the orphanage...
Some further comments from previous Tenderfooters......
Well - how hard is it to speak about just one time which touched you while in Romania - when there were so many. One of the days that made me laugh and cry was the day that we took 3 toddlers outside of the hospital - I'll never forget how excited they got to be out in the sunshine ,running from one place to another - smiling as the blew the fluff from the dandelions, touching the grass and wanting to lift things from the path and shrieking with joy when the trams passed on the road outside."
“…many babies and children tugged at our heart strings and we gave them all the love and attention we could. I still think of Marianna, blind and with severe cerebral palsy, who smiled as she was held and stroked, Alexandra who was two weeks old and had syphilis, and many others whose faces I keep remembering..”
People often ask us what they can send/give/donate etc when we go out to Bucharest. On those trips, we take out with us what we can carry in our cases eg. nappy sacs, babygros, knitted toys, pencils, erasers, crayons, toothbrushes etc. depending on the current needs at the time.
We are not in a position at present to send out a lorry load of heavier items - H2HI however, send out necessary domestic and play items and furniture from America.
A cost of a Tenderfoot Trip includes accommodation, full board, interpreters, transport, cultural visits. Air fares vary depending on the time of year. Many folk raise their funds by doing Sponsored Events - it is amazing how it all mounts up!
Take a look at Heart to Heart International website www.heart2heartint.org for the full spectrum of what they offer and their story. Heart2HeartScotland work alongside them and we hope to take our team out mid-May.